Review: The Corpse Reader

I was sick enough the other day to read. As odd as that sounds, when I’m at the point where I’m too uncomfortable to sleep, and too miserable to do my usual daily work, I immerse myself in reading. By opening a book, and stepping through it into another world, I escape (to some extent) the realities of this one. What this means is that I read when I’m sick. I read a lot. I wasn’t making notes on which titles I went through, and here’s the thing… it has to be a really good book to hold me when I’m doing this. Anything that throws me off will get the file closed, and I’m off to the next books.

And here’s the next thing. I was using Kindle Unlimited for this. Curled up around my tablet in bed, reading. It used to be that I would have a stack of books on the bed, spilling off onto the floor, but this time I just read ebooks, and it was addictively easy to go from one book to the next with the KULL program and not have to worry about what I was spending. Below is a partial list of what I read over approximately two days, based off of feverish memories and so far as I can tell, KULL doesn’t track what you have read and returned (although they really should, it would keep me from re-borrowing a book I’d already had out. Once upon a time, I’d do that by checking the library card, to see where I’d written my card number (206) but that system is long gone, too).

  • Buried by Kendra Elliot
  • Alone by Kendra Elliot (notes on these two: although they are the sort of popcorn reading I enjoy, I had some issues with feeling like they were really predictable on certain things, like I knew who the villains were immediately because they were the politically correct choices. YMMV but I chose not to read the other two titles in this series)
  • The Art Forger by BA Shapiro (a fun read, although I had a lot of “Oh, that’s such a stupid thing to do…” moments. The protagonist is very young, though).
  • Caveat Emptor: the Secret Life of an American Art Forger by Ken Perenyi (lots of fun, helps to read it as fiction)
  • Chasing Aphrodite by Jason Felch (started, didn’t finish)
  • The Man who Made Vermeers by Jonathan Lopez (started, didn’t finish)
  • The Carpet People by Terry Pratchett (whoo-hoo! This one was tons of fun, had me giggling even when I was miserable. Highly recommended)
  • A Cold and Broken Hallelujah by Tyler Dilts (solid read)
  • US Army Mage Corps by John Holmes (started, didn’t finish)
  • The Unexpected Enlightment of Rachel Griffin by Jagi Lamplighter (my kids are going to love this one)
  • Trophies of War by Christopher Remy (really good, this one started me on the art books kick…)
  • The Scribe by Antonio Garrido (good, had minor issues with the main character being irritating)
  • Baptism by Fire by David Pascoe (will review this coming Friday… very good. Want more).
  • Cleaver Square by Daniel Campbell (odd British mystery, but compelling)

corpse readerThe one that stood out to me among all these titles was The Corpse Reader by Antonio Garrido. A historical novel set soundly and appropriately in 13th century China, I didn’t catch the usual historical novelization errors of imposing our cultural mores on the setting, which pleased me. The tale itself was gripping, and kept me absorbed in the characters. Although graphic at times, this was a more brutal era, one full of filth and blood outside the hidden jewels of the Palace where Song Cí eventually finds himself.

Through medical training in a world which was reluctantly giving up the idea of magic, Song Cí finds himself able to be a necromancer, and speak for the dead. Forced into a parody of what he really wants to do, he leaps at the chance to attend a prestigious school and study medicine and the law. But with fame comes a price, and one that could take not only his life, but those of people who have become dear to him…

The protagonist, Song Cí, is a real person, the man who is considered the father of forensics (now you see why I was so excited to not only find this, but realize it was well-done). The secondary characters come to life as well, and I found myself rooting for the hero as he tried to take care of his family and himself in a world with utter disregard for human life. I highly recommend this book. You can read it with the KULL program, but at only $1.99, it’s a steal. I did read another by the same author, The Scribe, but although it was good, IMO it was weaker than The Corpse Reader.